If a quick trip to the Emerald Isle is out of the question, the next best place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day just might be The Palace Theatre with the National Dance Company of Ireland’s Rhythm of the Dance.
Traditional Irish songs, dances and music will comprise the program during the performers’ 20 th anniversary tour that stops in Greensburg for a 7 p.m. performance March 17.
Dane McKiernan, choreographer and lead male dancer for the internationally renowned dance company, says the latest edition of the stage show is a two-hour dance and music extravaganza that features a variety of songs and dances that weave together the old and the new traditions of Ireland.
The production relives the journey of the Irish Celts throughout history, showcasing both traditional and contemporary dances – ballet, modern dance and jazz – and music. The 2019 Rhythm of the Dance tour introduces new choreography, new costumes, new music, and the latest stage technology.
“Ninety percent of the show is a new production,” McKiernan says. “We wanted to keep a couple of the popular pieces, including an a capella guys’ dance in the second act that we’ve done since 2005, and a ‘battle’ between our Bodhran drum player and our lead female dancer, Amy Marie Prior of London.”
Following its U.S. tour to 14 different cities, Rhythm of the Dance will continue its 20th anniversary celebration with a tour of Ireland in April, an ambitious UK tour from June to mid-August and a China tour into fall.
Bringing different cultures together
The show’s producer, Kieran Cavanagh, says he is amazed by audiences in non-English speaking territories such as China and Russia that turn out for their concerts despite the language barrier.
“They cannot communicate with us, only through the music,” he says. “It’s fantastic to see this happen, how music can bring different nations and cultures together.”
He is confident that interest in the traditional dances of Ireland will remain strong due to competitions that keep athletes striving for excellence.
“Irish dance continues to be hugely popular all over the world and I believe that ‘Rhythm of the Dance’ will be around for many years to come, once we remain true to the art form and keep making the show interesting and entertaining for the audience,” he says. “I would hope we have many good years of touring ahead of us.”
McKiernan says American audiences are among the best, inspiring performers to perform to their highest level.
“We get such a good reception from our audiences,” he says. “When you hear the first applause, it definitely sets you on fire.”